A/N: Hello…well for all of you that thought this story was dead…its not just don't really get a lot of time to write these days…anyway on with the story.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of its characters.
"Sasuke, he's here." Sakura called as she entered the Hokage's office.
Sasuke had been waiting rather impatiently for Gaara's arrival. He had dispatched two groups of Anbu earlier that morning to find out anything they could about Itachi's daughter, but he wanted to head out as soon as possible himself. The possibility of another blood relative excited him more than anything had in awhile. He needed to meet her…Itachi's legacy.
"Sasuke…did you hear me?" Sakura asked again as she moved behind him placing her hand on his shoulder.
"Yes, I was just lost in thought for a moment. Where is he?" Sasuke asked as he sat in his chair ready to fulfill his role as Hokage.
"He should arrive any…" Sakura's sentence was interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Come in." Sasuke said watching as Sakura moved to her usual position behind him.
The door to the office was opened rather slowly by the ghostly white hand of the Kazekage of the hidden sand village. Gaara moved silently forward and nodded briefly towards the two before seating himself in the middle seat directly opposite Sasuke. Soon he was surrounded by his two older siblings, Kankurou and Temari. Although Sakura saw Temari much more now that she lived in Konoha, seeing her next to her brother and not her husband Shikimaru reminded her that she was once a sand village ninja and would most likely be one till she died.
"It's been too long Gaara." Sakura said sweetly as she greeted the three sand ninja's with a curt nod.
"Yes it has." Was Gaara's short reply, but unfortunately Kankurou was not so subtle.
"What is this we hear about Naruto? It can't possibly be true. Anyone who knows him knows that he loved this village more than anything in the world. And to put him in the bingo books? That is going too far!" Kankurou shouted.
"I just don't understand what could make him leave." Temari said as she looked between the two Uchiha's in front of her. Sakura winced at the words they spoke; she still did and suspected she would always feel some guilt for what she had done to Naruto.
"Unfortunately what you have heard is the truth." Sasuke said calmly, placing his elbows on the desk and becoming deadly serious.
Sakura watched quietly as her husband explained the situation to the sand representatives carefully watching for any signs of aggression in there reactions. Temari's face was in complete disbelief and Kankurou's showed nothing but anger. Even Gaara's face which was usually passive and calm was anything but. His eyes had widened from hearing the news his mouth was pressed into a tight line. It was clear to her the sand village Kazekage was not happy.
Once Sasuke had finished explaining the whole situation to them, the three sand shinobi had fallen dead quiet.
The awkward silence drew on for what was easily a good minute and as everyone knows, that minute usually feels like a lifetime.
Gaara was the first one in the room to reply and break the silence that had engulfed them. "Naruto is my friend."
The words where simple but coming from the mouth of the once jinchuriki of the one-tailed beast sounded so confident and sure, that no one would believe he had once tried to kill the ramen loving yellow haired shinobi.
Sasuke could feel Gaara's eyes boring into him.
"So what does this mean about or villages?" Sasuke asked sticking to point, maybe being the only other person in the world who could understand the influence Naruto could have on you.
"The Hidden Sand village will assist Konoha in the search and return of Uzumaki Naruto at any cost." Gaara stated once again with a calm steady voice.
"Thank you." Sakura said hastily her eyes on the verge of tears. It was such a relief off her shoulders to hear her once selfish act would not influence the lives of the thousands of people who relied on the treaty between the two villages.
"Don't misunderstand." Temari interjected quickly. "Gaara is not doing this for you…"
"It's for Naruto. There is one thing of which I am sure and that is that Naruto loved this village. And for that we will stick by it even if he has truly become the enemy. But I have one condition." Gaara said finishing his older sister's sentence.
Sasuke looked at Gaara curiously wondering what could be this condition he spoke of.
"Remove Naruto's name from the Bingo books immediately. That is a non-negotiable condition." Gaara's voice was stern and his eyes hard as he stared straight into Sasuke's eyes. The danger lingering long after the words had left his mouth.
Sasuke remained still until finally he nodded.
"I still don't believe it" Kankurou said his voice softer and much calmer than it had been mere moments ago.
There was silence in the room as the five of them all shared one thought…Naruto.
"We thank you for you future assistance and hopefully this will all be sorted out without the need for unnecessary bloodshed." Sasuke said professionally as he stood and reached out his hand towards Gaara. There was a moment when both Sasuke and Sakura thought Gaara wouldn't return the friendly gesture. But finally though Gaara reached out and took his hand in his own. He opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by a loud banging on the door.
There was a moment where Sasuke just stared at Gaara as if unspoken words where making there was from each of them. Finally Sasuke released his hand before calling out, "Who is it?"
There wasn't an answer instead the door flew open and a very pregnant very angry Hinata came rushing in. It was a pleasant surprise that Hinata had gotten over her shyness after falling pregnant and everyone would agree they liked the new Hinata more, except maybe the fact that when she got angry there was no stopping her.
"I want my baby sister back right now!" Hinata shouted at the top of her lungs instantly making her presence known to everyone in the room as well as scaring them to within an inch of their life.
They watched her as she huffed and puffed her arms sticking straight down her face in an angry frown and her huge belly turning the whole affair comedical. After a few seconds one Neji Hyuuga entered the room, dirt still covering his ninja gear. It was obvious he had just returned from his search for the younger of the Hyuuga heiresses.
"I couldn't stop her." Neji said lamely as he entered mimicking Naruto's trademark head scratch.
"I take it that Hanabi has not been found then?" Sasuke asked cautious of the fuming Hinata.
"Obviously! Otherwise I wouldn't be here now would I!" Hinata shouted as she stomped over towards Sasuke, it was only then that she saw the eyes of the three sand ninja's on her. "You got a problem?" she asked glaring at them slightly.
The three visibly blanched at her expression. Even the unmovable Gaara took a step back; it would seem his natural animal instinct for survival was overpowering his usual stoic composure.
"Thought so, now when are you sending someone after my sister?" Hinata asked once again this time with a little less danger in her voice.
"We already have." Sasuke said looking her dead in the eyes. "I have sent two teams to learn anything they can about the location of Naruto; they are to let me know the second any information is acquired."
He knew he was twisting the truth slightly, but if they found Itachi's daughter, they most likely would find Naruto and then hopefully they would find Hanabi. That was what he hoped because at this moment his life depended on it.
"I want Neji's team to head out as well, I trust no one more in this world than my husband." Hinata said while making her way back to her gleaming husband. Hearing his wife say those words brought him to the point of bursting with pride.
"Is that okay, Neji?" Sasuke asked looking at the Hyuuga prodigy.
There was a stiff nod from him and then one directed to Hinata from Sasuke. Almost instantly Hinata's mood changed.
She bowed at the sand shinobi and then at Sasuke and Sakura before smiling brightly and heading for the door grabbing her husband by the arm on her way out.
Hinata stopped at the door and looked back at her Hokage, "Hopefully I have my little sister and Naruto back before the baby arrives." And with that the door closed and they where gone.
Sasuke moved closer to Sakura and placed his hand on her less swollen belly. "I am the Hokage even if Naruto deserved it more than me and I will redeem my clan by protecting the future of this village. And the children of my village"
Gaara, Temari and Kankurou all looked at him the, one that had betrayed his village and caused Naruto such pain with slightly more respect than they had before Hinata had shown up.
"Let's hope you do." Gaara said.
"Who is she?" Anko shouted as she looked at Naruto, Yugito and a small black haired girl.
She was fuming first he gets with this blonde bimbo, forces here to betray her friends and now here he is with this small raven haired girl.
"Anko you arrived much earlier than I thought." Naruto said looking at her carefully.
"What did you expect I am a jounin." Anko said with a little bit of pride in her voice before focusing on the small girl once again.
"Who is that…daddy?" Rei asked experimenting with the word. She had after all just known them for a day, the concept was still hard for her to grasp, but for some unknown reason she felt safe around him.
Anko's eyes widened when she heard the words leave the little girls mouth, this was Naruto's daughter. She could not, she wouldn't believe it. He was too young and she was too big to be. It just couldn't possibly be… and that's when she saw it.
Anko almost fell over from the shock, there it was those eyes. She had seem them quiet often, blood red eyes with three black dots in each.
"Who is she Naruto?" Anko asked her voice much darker and serious from when she had been saying she was a jounin.
"It would seem she is Itachi Uchiha's daughter." Naruto said with just as much seriousness in his voice as she had.
"I don't believe it…" Anko said staring at the little girl now moving her way towards the back of Naruto's leg.
"Her name is Rei and for as long as she wants me, I will be her new father." Naruto said matter of factly.
Anko had no reply to the words he spoke this was definitely too sudden. A daughter even if adopted this was all too sudden.
Anko could do nothing but stare at him their eyes almost battling each other as she processed the information looking for any sign that this wasn't true. Finally Anko was the first to look away before sitting rather ungracefully on the floor across from a wide eyed Yugito.
"Uh hello…Anko" Yugito asked feeling slight fear for the snake mistress. Yugito was not the most graceful woman nor was she the quietest, but next to this loud unabashed woman she felt like a nun…although a very weary nun.
Yugito never received an answer from the purple haired jounin instead was presented with a cloth wrapped parcel.
Doing the first thing that came to her mind she opened the parcel and was presented with a scroll and a book. She had never seen the book before and the scroll was covered in symbols she recognized as a sealing technique.
"That was the first book Jaraiya wrote, I was named after the main character." Naruto said as he took the book from her hands.
There was a moment of silence as he stared at it, Rei sticking her head out from behind him to get a closer look at what he was holding. Yugito watched as he picked Rei up and placed her on his lap before opening the book to the first page.
Anko looked at the three of them before falling backwards from her seated position her small smile hidden from there eyes. She would now be with them, her new life away from her twisted past, the one she thought she would never be able to escape.
Six shadows moved faster than lighting over the burnt rubble, scanning every inch of land. It was littered with dead bodies, innocent villagers who lay sprawled across the bandits that had killed them. Almost as if in the afterlife they would battle for eternity.
"Anything?" came the call from the cat masked figure as he scanned the ground for anything his men might have missed.
"Nothing yet sir." came a softer voice from a man adorning a wolf-like mask of his own as he appeared from the rubble on the other side of the village.
The cat-masked man knelt in front of one of the bodies and ran his fingers over the ground surrounding him. The small crater revealed the all too familiar spiral markings that Naruto's rasengan made.
"Then lets move out." He shouted as he signaled for his men to follow him. He jumped in the air and was followed closely by his team.
"You liar…" Ino said as she looked at the crystal lying on the table. "You told me this crystal would lead me to you…it doesn't do anything!" The frustration was overwhelming her.
Ino stood and looked out the window the face of the fourth Hokage. She hated that face it reminded her of him.
She watched the people of Konoha going on with their everyday lives, she wondered how they could be so oblivious to what was happening around them or was she the only one who had to live through this pain of longing.
Grabbing the crystal from her bedside table she leaped from the window and landed on the ground below to quick for anyone to even notice before she headed off. She knew where she was headed the only two people she could count on in this situation. Her old teammates.
They had shared every aspect of there lives together she just had to hope that was enough.
Without even realizing it she had come out in front of his favorite place. Through all the years of suffering, before he become the hero and was loved by all, this place had always been there for him. She couldn't even enter she kept seeing him there eating ramen and joking around.
But life went on.
Ichiraku's ramen shop was open for business and business was doing well. She took a glance at old man Teuchi and Ayame. They where frantically running around trying to service their customers and Ino couldn't help but wonder if they even missed Naruto at all.
Moving on she came across the Academy it was quiet today just a couple of students practicing how to throw their kunai. Even here life went on.
She watched as Iruka showed a young boy the correct way to hold a kunai, the correct way to throw and finally hit its target.
Ino felt anger build up in her as she watched him. She couldn't believe he was here teaching them all this instead of out there getting Naruto back for her.
Her grip tightened around the crystal in her hands as she made eye contact with her old sensei. He gave her a reassuring smile, but didn't receive one in return instead she ran full speed away she needed to reach Shikimaru's house. She needed them to help her get Naruto back.
Shortly after here awkward encounter by the academy Ino reach Shikimaru's house only to be met by both her teammates.
"Ino? What are you doing here?" Chouji asked as he looked her over. She was panting slightly from the distance she had just run, but looked them both in the eyes.
"Help me bring back Naruto." Ino said as she made her way over to them. That's when her eyes caught onto it. There was a big picture of Naruto's face; she remembered it was taken at his last birthday party. But that was not all. There where files upon files raging from missions he had completed to what she could only assume where a list of the techniques he used.
"It's all the information we have on Naruto." Shikimaru said as he handed one of the files he had been reading to her. "If we plan to bring Naruto back then we're going to need all the information there is about him.
Ino could feel tears starting to well up in her eyes as she looked at her oldest friends, but she had decided she was going to be strong. She would help them find Naruto no matter what it took.
'This might help." Ino said as she placed the crystal down right next to Naruto's picture. "He said it would lead me to him. Although I haven't figured out what he means."
"Knofing Nafuto it profafly somfing…no one would ever think of." Kiba said as he came out of Shikimaru's house, swallowing the last bit of his sandwich before he finished his sentence.
"Kiba?" Ino asked she wasn't even aware that he was here.
"You're not the only one who wants him back." Kiba said as he slung an arm around her. "I owe him a punch in the face."
"Where going to get him back Ino." Chouji said.
"Neji, Tenten, Lee and Gai have already set out on reconnaissance. It was basically a direct order from Hinata." Shikiamru said receiving a laugh as well as a scowl from Kiba as the images of his pregnant teammate flooded his mind.
Ino's whole body was shaking. She had tried to stop them but they fell anyway. She hated crying, it was all she did lately, but for the first time since he had left she was shedding tears of joy. 'They care…they still care.'
"Come on. Don't cry we'll get him back Ino." Kiba said never being very good at comforting a woman or anyone for that matter.
"Thank you all so much." Ino said giving them the biggest smile anyone had seen in the longest time.
Ino joined the rest of the team around the picture of Naruto's face. Shikimaru waited only a second before starting the briefing.
Ino listened intently as each one relived the fights with Naruto. From Kiba's fight in the chunnin exams to there most recent encounters.
"It is obvious he is much stronger than any of us gave him credit for." Shikimaru said.
"As well as using techniques none of us knew he could." Chouji added.
Ino smirked, she knew. After being on so many missions with Naruto she knew the techniques he was capable of. She had seen them more and more lately, as the quality of the missing nin they hunted or the renegade bandits they fought increased.
'The meeting' as it was called now ran late into the night, every so often everyone having to take a break for Chouji or Kiba, unstoppable hunger. When they had finally finished Ino was tired, but happy. There was now hope…hope that she would see him again and sometime soon.
A/N: Well there you go a new chapter. Well I just wanted to shed some background info in like how the rest of team nine and the village are handling 'Naruto's Betrayal'
Sorry if this was slightly slow, but got to get in the writing groove again.
Thanks for reading and please review.